We have pretty different personalities. The funny thing is, it actually works.
Amy Gascon is the Training Center Director and performer at The Comedy Project theater which she helped found in March 2019. She is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory in Chicago and Grand Valley State University, where she also works in the Center for Entrepreneurship. Amy has taught for the Grand Rapids Civic Theater, is co-director of the Lass Laugh Comedy festival, and writes and performs with several comedy troupes in the area. She combines her background in improvisation and entrepreneurship to provide workshops for teams looking to add a creative spark to their workday.
Eirann Betka-Pope is a producer, director, performer, teacher, writer, improviser, artist and activist in Grand Rapids. They are the founder and president of Funny Girls and former owner of The Fuse Box. Eirann is Theatre Manager of The Comedy Project, where they also produce and perform. They teach classes at both The Comedy Project Training Center, and The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre School for Theatre Arts. Eirann is also the producer of Comedy Outlet Mondays, a weekly comedic variety show at The Comedy Project.
Kaira Williams was a finalist for Funniest Person in Grand Rapids 2017 & 2018, and voted 2nd favorite comedian in 2018 by readers of Revue West Michigan. Kaira keeps it professional as the Communications Manager for Funny Girls, and is one half of the duo, Inaccurate & Inappropriate. She struggles to split time between being the world's biggest NKOTB fangirl and practicing her craft. Her humor reflects her personality as a loud, unashamed feminist with self-esteem issues. Her stand-up is an oral biography of the worst things about herself, and the absurdities of being a single 30-something woman.
Jenna Pope is an instructor at Grand Rapids Civic Theater, resource room teacher, and performer within the Grand Rapids community. Her true passions involve organizing others’ lives, writing extensive Google Docs, and watching as much Netflix as she possibly can in one day. She initially got involved with Funny Girls by sitting in the corner at their rehearsals and laughing at their jokes while also avoiding performing by volunteering to run their tech. She has since come to her senses (and also gotten braver) and has come to love collaborating and actively performing with these wonderful ladies.
Kristin Hirsch is a lover of things, which include but are not limited to salty snacks, Gin and improv. She got her start in improv in California, studying at ComedySportz San Jose, before moving back to her hometown of Grand Rapids. She joined Funny Girls at its inception and has never looked back or been more entertained. She is enjoying diving more into sketches, both writing and performing, although still finds memorizing lines difficult when she's so used to saying whatever weirdness comes to her mind. In addition to Funny Girls she can be seen performing with her other comedy love, No Outlet Improv Troupe. She's been told her whole life that her humor is "dry" which might be better than "wet" because that sounds messy.
Sydney Smith joined Funny Girls to be around those who believe, like her, that women are funny. She’s a standup comedian who loves awkwardness, honesty and current events. In her spare time, Sydney is usually frowning (hates spare time). One day she would like to host a political talk show, but for now she's just shouting into the void.
She loves telling people about Funny Girls through her role as promotions manager.
Sydney's Favorite Comedian is Chelsea Handler,Margaret Cho or Mike Birbiglia (she can't choose) and whenever she needs a giggle, she watchesSaturday Night Live's "Body Fuzion".
Sarah Jean Anderson is an artist, comic and character actor from Grand Rapids, MI. She has been entertaining audiences since 2004 and has toured nationally several times as a burlesque comedienne with Super Happy Fun Time Burlesque (2005-2013) and as a former member of the Murder Mystery Company (2008-2011).
Voted Best Comedian by West Michigan’s Revue Magazine in 2016, she placed in the Best Artist category in 2017. She has written and produced 13 original comedy shows since 2008, including One Pretty Funny Girl (2008) and After School Special (2014). Sarah can be seen onstage hosting such recurring burlesque events as Tease-a-GoGo in Lansing, MI, Shimmy Shack and Pyrus Calleryana Burlesque in Grand Rapids, MI. Buy her art before she’s dead. (Etsy.com/shop/BSidezGallery)
Paige Leyh is a performer and all-around creative transplant to Grand Rapids. She has a fancy theater degree that she is still paying for every month. In addition to Funny Girls, Paige is on The Comedy Project’s revue cast where the sketch comedy just keeps going. She started her comedy/ improv journey with Monkey Butler in L.A. Her favorite places in the world in a particular order are as follow: wedding dance floor with her boo, in the middle of a sketch where everyone is about to break and at a farmers market with fruit samples.
Katie Milbourne is a performer and sketch writer with a proclivity toward organization -- which makes her perfect for her role as the Operations Manager. When she isn't writing, researching, practicing, or performing with the Funny Girls, she spends her time reading or trying to eat as much pizza as possible, despite her lactose intolerance. She loves being a part of a group of strong, independent women, and she thinks it would make her one true love (Hillary Clinton) proud.
Juno is a senior at Aquinas, studying psychology by day and running the student improv troupe by night. Juno's main forms of expression are annoying voices, wearing people’s unwanted clothes from the 80s, and roller blading to disco music. Funny women, in his opinion, are the greatest humans in the universe.
Juno's fave comedians are Kristen Wiig and Fred Armisen because they can play so many diverse characters!
Mary Kate has been a performer since she was a wee one, in shows ranging from The Wizard of Oz to Rocky Horror here at The Fuse Box. She has recently joined GRCT’s cast of Shrek The Musical as the Dragon, and cannot WAIT to see if they actually let her play with fire onstage. Other hobbies include petting other people’s dogs, cooking a mean grilled cheese, and treasure hunting at goodwill.
Her favorite comedians are John Mulaney, Maria Bamford, and Sarah Silverman. Her favorite moment in comedy is constantly changing, but right now it’s a tie between everything that’s going right with CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and the wonderful world of the Moonpie Twitter account.
Stevie is the oldest of 4 children, and it shows. When she was young, her dad wanted her to graduate college and solve world peace. She never graduated, but she does comedy now, so that counts. Stevie lends her talents to many GR comedy groups including Funny Girls, Late Night GR, Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater, and The Comedy Project Official Page. Her hobbies range from warm hikes to depression naps, but her favorite is bringing up her mother's death at any opportunity to make others feel awkward.
Kerrie Baker is graphic designer based in Grand Rapids. She got her BFA at Kendall College of Art and Design, and is still paying for it to this day! Kerrie loves improv and creating strange ideas to contribute to sketches. She also loves singing, playing piano and French Horn, and binging tv shows in one sitting like a garbage human being! When she “grows up” she wants to get a dog. But for now she has a cat named Frankie, who is the love of her life. Her favorite comedians are Chelsea Peretti, Fred Armisen, Aidy Bryant and Hannibal Buress.
Jill Zwarensteyn is excited to be back in Michigan after nearly a decade in Los Angeles working in commercials, film, new media and theater. Her comedic work has been featured in The New York Times, Amazon, truTV, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, SBS Comedy, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, and the Funny Women Festival LA. In addition to performing with Funny Girls, she also works as a television producer and writer. For more info, visit her website at www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com.
Sidney Anderson made her recent comedic debut as an improv cast member with The Comedy Project GR, and is so excited to be expanding her horizons as a performer. She graduated from Michigan State last year with a degree in film and theatre, and has since taken improv classes with the Civic. Sidney may be our youngest cast member, but her day job as a high school college adviser keeps her on her toes and prepared for anything that life throws her way! When she’s not diving head first into new projects, she enjoys multi-day video game binges, ice cream and rolling around with her dog, Teddy.
Jackie van Vugt is a GVSU grad with a bachelor’s in communication studies, and is definitely not using her degree! She has recently started performing sketch comedy at The Comedy Project in Grand Rapids, along with taking improv classes there and at the Civic Theatre. She is a nerd-gram for the Grand Rapids Singing Telegram. When she’s not performing or working one of her many jobs to pay off her crippling debt, she’s probably self-diagnosing ailments via WebMD, trying to finish that book she started reading in 2013, or making up jokes to help ease her chronic anxiety. She appreciates dark and absurd humor from comedians like Sarah Silverman, Jim Carrey, Kate McKinnon, and many others.”
Mariea Luisa Macavei is a regular performer on the stage & screen. On stage, she recently portrayed Daphna in Jewish Theatre's production of Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, Karen in Unnecessary Farce by Paul Slade Smith at Circle Theatre, and the ghost of Christmas past/present/future in The University Wits production of A Christmas Carol by Doris Baizley. She's performed with Opera GR in Rigoletto and Barber of Seville, and is a regular performer with the Frivolous Follies vaudeville productions at Wealthy Theater as an inebriated historian, comic, singer, and dancer. She's also a certified yoga teacher, athlete, artist, and a maestro of the Ms. Pac-Man table. Mariea graduated from GVSU with a B.A. in Advertising/PR and Theatre. Mariea's website is www.mariealuisamacavei.com.